With tons of newly dubbed “superfoods” gaining widespread awareness and popularity, amaranth grains and leaves are still behind the trend, remaining relatively obscure despite their myriad health benefits. But regardless of whether you want to be ahead of the health-food curve or just want to try some new grains and leafy greens, amaranth is a great alternative, healthy food source that can help further your training goals.

Amaranth seeds can be ground into flour, or they can be utilized in place of other similar foods like quinoa or brown rice. Amaranth leaves can also provide a healthy, tender replacement for greens such as kale or Swiss chard.

A Complete Protein

Amaranth, in seed form, is a complete protein—something most other grains can’t claim. It also contains three times the amount of calcium other grains boast (about 12% of your daily value, based on a 2,000-calorie diet and a cooked one-cup serving). From that 250-calorie serving, you’ll get nine grams of protein and five grams of fiber. There are also plenty of other valuable vitamins and minerals, such as iron, which helps deliver oxygen throughout the body. Amaranth could potentially ward off serious health problems. “Amaranth may have a positive effect in cancer prevention and in reducing inflammation for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke,” according to Vandana Sheth, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.